Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Adam Smith (WA-09) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) issued the following joint statement after the U.S. Department of Justice announced a lawsuit against King County over the county’s order that bans ICE from using Seattle’s Boeing Field for immigration enforcement activities:

This is another attack by the Trump Administration on communities that have implemented policies that uphold our values. It’s posturing that further politicizes the Department of Justice. No amount of posturing changes the basic facts: Welcoming policies make our communities safer and King County is well within its right not to be involved in federal immigration enforcement activities without valid court orders. The president and his administration must face the reality that our immigration system is broken—and that he has exacerbated every aspect of it during his time in office. We stand ready and willing to work with anyone to enact comprehensive immigration reform, and in the meantime, our communities will not be bullied into complying with nonsensical policies that are based on xenophobic falsehoods.”

Smith is the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Jayapal is the Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship.

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WASHINGTON, D.C.Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement upon voting yes on the House passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.

The PRO Act, which is the most significant upgrade to U.S. labor law in 80 years, is a proposal that strengthens workers’ power to organize and negotiate for fairer paychecks, better benefits, and safer working conditions. The legislation is a direct response to the struggle that many hardworking families are facing with the rising costs of education, child care, housing, and other basic necessities.

“Strong unions are crucial for combatting economic inequality. Today, however, only ten percent of American workers today are union members – the lowest rate on record – and we are seeing rising income inequality. This comes after decades of attacks on workers’ right to organize and recently the Trump Administration’s harmful rules threatening worker rights.

“In response, the PRO Act makes comprehensive and necessary changes to protect and strengthen workers’ rights to organize. The bill will introduce enforceable penalties for companies and executives that violate workers’ rights, holding them accountable for working conditions.

“The PRO Act protects and expands workers’ power to stand together and negotiate for better pay and benefits and safer working conditions, and closes loopholes that corporations use to undermine the right to organize. The economy is working for corporations and the wealthy while wage growth for the average worker has remained largely stagnant. This legislation will reestablish the conditions necessary for restoring fairness to the economy.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C.Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement after President Trump’s State of the Union address.

“President Trump used the State of the Union to mislead the American people and lie about critical issues. The American people need the truth – not a twisted and distorted vision that bears no resemblance to reality. 

“Trump touted the strength of the economy, claiming that reversing the economic policies of the previous administration has paved the way for the economic gains of today. This is just wrong. GDP growth is hardly the best ever, as President Trump has claimed, and has slowed in the wake of the Republican tax cuts. In the first three years of the Trump Administration, the U.S. GDP grew by 2.4%, 2.9%, and 2.3% respectively.

Numerous previous presidents have averaged well above Trump’s GDP growth levels:

  • Johnson averaged 5.3%;
  • Clinton averaged 3.9%;
  • Reagan averaged 3.5%;
  • Carter averaged 3.3%;
  • Eisenhower averaged 3%.

Trump is not even performing above the post-World War II average of 2.9% per year.

“The truth is that economic growth Trump claims credit for began during the Obama administration. In the 36 months before Trump took office, 8.2 million jobs were created under President Obama compared to just the 6.7 million jobs gained under Trump in his first three years. In addition, the Trump tax plan signed into law at the beginning of 2018 will add $1.9 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, leaving our kids to foot the bill for this giveaway to corporations and the wealthy.

“Trump also said he will ‘always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.’ But the Trump administration is actively pursuing a lawsuit today that would completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act, including its protections for pre-existing conditions, and has offered no serious legislation to protect pre-existing conditions. His actions are not protecting patients, they are leaving millions of Americans at risk from losing their health care.

“Beyond domestic issues, Trump said we are stronger than ever in foreign relations. That could not be further from the truth. The Trump administration’s policies have severely undermined our credibility on foreign policy and diplomacy, which threatens our national security. For example, he abandoned the Kurds in Syria after decades of support and cooperation, and we drew dangerously close to another war with Iran when Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani without fully considering the consequences. Trump has actively undermined key alliances such as NATO, sided with Russia instead of our own intelligence agencies, and abandoned career diplomats and foreign service officers that are the backbone of our foreign policy. Our long-standing alliances are in jeopardy due to his short-sightedness and bravado. The damage done in just his first term will take years to repair. 

“In all of his exaggerations and lies, the President failed to mention an existential threat facing the United States and the world: climate change. Failure to acknowledge and address this threat is unacceptable and will impact our children and country for years to come.

“The challenges facing the United States are not going to be easy to address, but our country deserves leadership that is at least honest with the American people.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C.Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement today upon the conclusion of the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump:

“Today, the Senate voted to acquit President Trump despite his blatant and unprecedented abuses of the power of the presidency.

“It is crucial that Congress remains committed to the rule of law and holding President Trump—and all presidents who follow him—accountable. We must uphold the ideals of our founders and maintain our commitment to the constitution when our democratic resilience is tested.

“The House of Representatives did its job and laid out a clear and strong case for the President’s removal from office. The Senators who voted to acquit sent a message to the President that he is accountable to no one. President Trump abused his office to undermine our elections and jeopardize our national security, setting a dangerous precedent for our democracy.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Led by Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA), the Washington Democratic congressional delegation, including U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA, 7th), Derek Kilmer (D-WA, 6th), Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA, 8th), Rick Larsen (D-WA, 2nd), Suzan K. DelBene (D-WA, 1st), and Denny Heck (D-WA, 10th) sent a letter to Secretary Carson concerning HUD’s current practice of issuing unpredictable Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs) for the Mainstream Voucher Program.

The Mainstream Voucher Program provides critical housing support for individuals and families with disabilities. Efficient awarding of Mainstream Vouchers is crucial to ensuring that Washington Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) can most effectively respond to the affordable housing needs of Washington communities. However, PHAs are hindered from fully serving these families and individuals due to HUD’s current practice of issuing unpredictable and piecemeal NOFAs despite a significant increase in funding for new vouchers over the last several years.

“People with disabilities and their families deserve the stability and housing support that Mainstream Vouchers provide. The PHAs in our districts rely on these funds to support families and individuals who are transitioning out of, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness or institutionalization,” said the Washington Democratic congressional delegation.

“Washington state has the fifth highest rate of homelessness in the nation, due in major part to the high cost of rent, and these vouchers are a lifesaving homelessness prevention tool. HUD must provide answers and a plan for issuing the remaining funding for the Mainstream Voucher Program so that PHAs and Washingtonians are not left out to dry.”

Full letter here and below:

Dear Secretary Carson,

We write concerning the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) process of allocating Section 811 Mainstream Housing Choice Vouchers (Mainstream Voucher Program) over the last two years.

The Mainstream Voucher Program provides critical housing support for individuals and families with disabilities. The Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) in our districts rely on these funds to support families and individuals who are transitioning out of, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness or institutionalization. Washington state has the fifth highest rate of homelessness in the nation, due in major part to the high cost of rent and these vouchers are a lifesaving homelessness prevention tool. However, our PHAs are hindered from fully serving these families and individuals due to HUD’s current practice of issuing unpredictable and piecemeal Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs). HUD’s current process prevents our PHAs from adequately adjusting operations and staff in order to expediently lease awarded vouchers.

In Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18), HUD received $505 million for the Mainstream Voucher Program—a $385 million increase over FY17 for new vouchers. Despite this increase in funding, it is our understanding that HUD has not allocated additional vouchers in a timely fashion and has posted multiple NOFAs throughout the year. This piecemeal approach to issuing NOFAs is burdensome for PHAs, particularly smaller PHAs with limited resources. One alternative to multiple NOFAs suggested by local PHA staff is for HUD to issue one large NOFA with a process to release additional vouchers to awarded agencies in a staggered fashion as PHAs are successful in leasing them up.

In light of the above concerns expressed to us by local PHAs, we respectfully request your response to the following questions regarding HUD’s future plans for issuing Mainstream Vouchers:

  • What is HUD’s plan for issuing Mainstream Voucher Program NOFAs for the remaining funding appropriated through FY19?  The next NOFA is scheduled for Spring 2020. Will this NOFA include all funds appropriated through 2019? If not, why?
  • Why has HUD not issued NOFAs for the full amount of funding appropriated by Congress for FY18 and FY19 for the Mainstream Voucher Program? What is the purpose of issuing multiple NOFAs?
  • Given that Congress approved $229 million for the Mainstream Voucher Program for FY20, what is HUD’s plan for expeditiously awarding these funds to PHAs?
  • Has HUD considered awarding larger numbers of vouchers while phasing actual issuance dates to enable PHAs to be more strategic in ramping up operations? If not, why not?

People with disabilities and their families deserve the stability that Mainstream Vouchers provide. Efficient awarding of Mainstream Vouchers is crucial to ensuring that PHAs can most efficiently respond to the affordable housing needs of Washington communities. We appreciate your attention to this request and look forward to receiving your response.

Sincerely,

Adam Smith
Member of Congress 

Pramila Jayapal
Member of Congress

Derek Kilmer
Member of Congress 

Kim Schrier, M.D 
Member of Congress

Rick Larsen
Member of Congress

Suzan DelBene
Member of Congress

Denny Heck
Member of Congress 

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